Manufacturer fined $70K after worker injured

Washington Mills Electro Minerals Corporation, a manufacturer of mineral products, was fined $70,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.
On October 4, 2010, at the company's facility in Niagara Falls, minerals had been melted in a furnace and were being poured into pots on a rail car that moved along a track to and from the furnace. As the rail car was carrying two full and two empty pots, it passed a moveable conveyor that was on its own tracks. The conveyor was close enough to the rail car's path that one of the full pots on the car rubbed against the conveyor. A hose attached to this pot was torn off.

A worker noticed and went to remove the hose from the tracks as the rail car was on its way back. As the rail car passed the conveyor a second time, the same pot rubbed against the conveyor and tipped off the rail car, striking the worker. The worker suffered third degree burns and serious injuries to the torso and hip.

Washington Mills Electro Minerals Corp. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the pots were transferred in a way that prevented the pots from tipping or falling.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Mary Shelley. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.